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Subject: "muisc by Wagner...." Archived thread - Read only
 
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #234
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Eugene Merrett

19-08-99, 03:45 PM (GMT)
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"muisc by Wagner...."
 
   I object to the poll option "music by Wagner". I do not think anyone on this site has seen a ballet set to Wagner music (if you have please tell us about it).

Actually there is some ballet music in Wagner. The opera Rienzi - a rarely early performed work - has some ballet music as part of a grand opera. And of course there is the Venusberg music to Tannhauser ( another comparatively early work). This caused a riot at the Paris Opera because the dancing starts almost immediately after the overture - not in Act 2 which is what the Parisian expected! The Venusberg music is very likeable and is frequently recorded on Wagner high - light records.

There is also some charming dance music in Die Miestersingers - the town apprentices dance with their girlfriends at the Nuremberg fete. And of course there is the flower maiden scene in Parsifal.

Wagner's later music is very difficult to dance to to because the melodic line is so fragmented. Wagners music is constructed from motifs that convey emotions. The motifs are constantly changing to reflect what the singer rererring to (almost to the word!). To unfamiliar listeners it sounds like abrubt and unnatural changes of tunes - just when one beautiful tune is played it suddenly changes to another when the singer changes subject! Obviously dancers would have difficutly coping with these changes!


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: muisc by Wagner.... Francis Timlin 19-08-99 1
  RE: music by Wagner.... Jonathan 19-08-99 2
     RE: music by Wagner.... Eugene Merrett 19-08-99 3
         RE: music by Wagner.... Angela 27-08-99 4

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Francis Timlin

19-08-99, 04:56 PM (GMT)
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1. "RE: muisc by Wagner...."
In response to message #0
 
   Paul Taylor's "Roses" is set to the Siegfried Idyll. It is a luminous work, performed by both ballet and modern companies. I highly recommend it.


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Jonathan

19-08-99, 06:53 PM (GMT)
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2. "RE: music by Wagner...."
In response to message #0
 
   >I object to the poll option "music
>by Wagner". I do not
>think anyone on this site has
>seen a ballet set to Wagner
>music

I have not only seen Béjart's four and three-quarter hour ballet based on the Ring Cycle called "Ring um den Ring" about 25 times (because I cued the sound for it) I also sat through hundreds of hours of rehearsal of it as well. Please let me know if you feel that I should have more experience before casting a vote in this poll.

>>
To unfamiliar listeners it sounds like abrubt and unnatural changes of tunes - just when one beautiful tune is played it suddenly changes to another when the singer changes subject! Obviously dancers would have difficutly coping with these changes!
>>

There is nothing in the entire opus of Wagner which comes even a light-year near the rhythmic and melodic complexity of any of the Stravinsky ballets, not to mention hundreds of other modern works.

Dancers who have performed in these works not only know the music backwards, but have developed skills of co-ordination and listening that most of us could hardly dream of.

I am surprised (and insulted on behalf of my dancing colleagues and friends) that someone who watches so much dance could have so little understanding of (or respect for) the enormous amount of skill, training and ability required in order to be a dancer today.



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Eugene Merrett

19-08-99, 09:57 PM (GMT)
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3. "RE: music by Wagner...."
In response to message #2
 
   I think that was a bit strong - it was just a casual posting taken a bit too seriously. And I never said that it could not be done!

To say that I am insulting the dancers is a bit much!

I would really like to see this Ring by Bejart! I will look out for it in Dancing Times.

I like Stravinksy too but I do prefer Wagner but of course everyone is entitled to their opinions.



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Angela

27-08-99, 03:28 PM (GMT)
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4. "RE: music by Wagner...."
In response to message #3
 
   Just for the record:
there is a ballet called "Träume" ("Dreams") by the Swiss choreographer Heinz Spoerli from 1980 which uses Wagner's Wesendonk Songs. It even tells the story of Richard Wagner, Mathilde and Otto Wesendonk. And there is another ballet by Maurice Béjart called "Les Chaises" (from 1981)after Eugene Ionescus play which uses the "Tristan"-Vorspiel and Isoldes Liebestod. It is a pas de deux made especially for Marcia Haydée and John Neumeier and it's very touching. Béjart understands Wagners music very, very well - I learned so much more about the symbols in the "Ring" from his Ring-Ballet than from some modern directors who staged the four operas.


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